Leena Telén is a London-based writer and award-winning film-maker. She began her career in television in Finland, producing and directing documentary, drama and educational programmes. In 2006, she wrote and produced River Crossing, a short film screened at festivals around the world and based on an episode from her first book, Underwater. And more recently she co-wrote the script for Red Trees, a feature-length documentary by Marina Willer.
A memoir of childhood and adolescence, Underwater is set in Helsinki, Finland in the 1950s and 60s, where Leena's sports-mad father trains her relentlessly to compete for Olympic gold. She becomes seven-times swimming champion of Finland with a place on the national team, but quits to build an independent life, shattering her father’s dreams.
Leena is currently working on her second book, Aino. It is based on the true story of two generations of Finnish women, Leena’s grandmother Aino, imprisoned for treason in the aftermath of Finland’s 1919 civil war, and her daughter Salme, Leena’s mother. It was Aino’s sacrifice, along with countless others, that led to independence for Salme, Leena and ultimately Finland. It is a story of family, love and survival.
Leena has an MA in Creative Writing from the City University, London.